Congresswoman Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D-NM) has sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture, Vilsak asking that the Roswell slaughter plant does not receive a permit to operate
To download letter in PDF click (HERE)
Equine Advocates are asking all to make phone calls to members of the AG committee to support the farm bill being heard on May 15th, as well as their representatives voicing their opposition to the proposed plant in Roswell, NM. Congresswoman Grisham is on the AG committee and is spearheading this effort.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission proposed more unannounced inspections of food companies and tougher fines for labeling fraud on Monday, after the discovery earlier this year that millions of Europeans ate horsemeat labeled as beef.
If approved by EU governments and lawmakers, the new rules would force member states to impose fines equal to the financial gains from proven cases of food fraud, officials said.
Unidentified criminal gangs blamed for Europe’s horsemeat scandal are believed to have made huge profits by substituting millions of tons of cheap horsemeat for more expensive beef in products including meatballs and lasagne.
EU governments have in the past been reluctant to agree to minimum financial sanctions mandated by Brussels, but the Commission believes the desire to reassure consumers in the wake of the horsemeat scandal could swing the debate.
“Crime must not pay, but if the penalties are low it does pay,” EU consumer commissioner Tonio Borg told a news conference to present the plans.
Penalties for the type of labeling fraud used in the horsemeat scandal vary from state to state. A conviction in Britain may draw a jail term of up to two years, while in France the maximum penalty is a fine of 187,000 euros ($245,000).
The proposals would also force governments for the first time to carry out a minimum number of unannounced inspections on food operators, to check that the contents of their products match what is written on the label.
Europe’s horsemeat scandal broke in January when horse DNA was found in frozen burgers sold in Irish and British supermarkets. ($1 = 0.7624 euros)
(Reporting by Charlie Dunmore; editing by Rex Merrifield)
His mother Lulu was purchased for $300 at an Indiana slaughter auction by Gail Vacca, founder and president of the Illinois Equine Rescue Center.
Vacca found out later that Lulu was pregnant when purchased.
When the foal was born he was first named Taxi – that was until Vacca traced his lineage back to an impressive sire — a $2.58 million career stakes winner called Magna Graduate.
Speaking about the race, Vacca said the horse – who was the number six spot in the seven horse race – led the entire way.’He was out for a joyride,’ she said afterwards. ‘He didn’t even look back.’Magna Fortuna’s ‘biography’ explains the moment Vacca rescued the horse’s mother Silver Option from slaughter: ‘Ms Vacca was at the auction looking for any thoroughbreds that may have come from the tracks in Illinois when she spotted a smallish bay mare that was in obvious discomfort from being severely lame in both front feet.‘Unfortunately the mare was already in a “kill pen” just waiting to be loaded onto a trailer for the grueling ride to slaughter in Canada.’
After being taken back to Illinois, Silver Option soon gave birth to Magna Fortuna, who was originally named Taxi until his routes were traced back to his race-winning father.
It was then that Vacca decided he would be trained to race.
Since the victory, offers have flooded in to buy the horse but so far they have been rejected.Video report: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qj79G2qSMlc
Source: SF Bay Area CBS
SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The USDA said it will increase inspections of imported beef, in the midst of a horsemeat scandal in Europe. So far, none of the tainted products have made it to the United States. But the scandal is renewing efforts to ban American horse slaughter.
Dr. Scott Stanley is helping to keep the horse racing industry clean. He runs a lab at UC Davis that analyzes horses’ blood to detect doping. “What we do is similar to what they do for a sports athlete,” he said.
Abuse of a horse tranquilizer called Phenylbutazone is very common. “They are given medications that are totally inappropriate to be used in animals that are meant for food,” Stanley said.
Phenylbutazone is banned for human consumption because it can cause a deadly blood disorder. He has also found antibiotics in horses. “Some people can have allergic reactions to antibiotics. That is why we don’t use them in food animals,” said Dr. Stanley.
Yet race horses routinely end up on dinner plates in Europe. Despite our own state laws against slaughter, even California horses are at risk.
A recent KPIX 5 investigation found race horses dumped at auction, where they can end up in the hands of kill buyers. From there, they are trucked to processing plants in Canada and Mexico.
Where does the meat go? Tests in 27 European countries found horse DNA in 5 percent of frozen entrees made with beef, such as lasagna and meatballs. Some samples also contained traces of phenylbutazone.
“The food is tainted, the meat is tainted, it’s dangerous,” actress and animal activist Bo Derek told KPIX 5. Derek sits on the state’s horse racing board, and routinely rules on doping investigations.
“It’s a business that because of betting has huge financial incentives to take an edge and to get ahead. So there will always be those Lance Armstrongs,” Derek said.
Derek, who was appointed to the board by former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, convinced fellow members this month to support a proposed law called the SAFE Act (.pdf) banning domestic horse slaughter as well as the export of U.S. horses for slaughter.
“It’s offensive to us and I think 80 percent of the American people agree. Horses in this country have never been bred as livestock,” said Derek.
Yet even some within the horse racing industry support horse slaughter, such as radio talk show host and trainer Roger Stein. “It’s a necessary evil,” Stein said.
Stein breeds horses on his farm in Stockton. “I have a stallion, who breeds upwards of 25 mares per year,” he said.
Three racehorses from the farm recently showed up on the block at an auction house in Turlock.
Stein claims he knew nothing about it but said, “The truth is, what do you with them if they can’t race?”
“There’s a very real need for the disposal of horses that are no longer any chance of being an asset. They are liabilities,”Stein said.
Derek disagrees. “Our industry and our horse owners have been able to bear this burden of either caring for the horse for the rest of its life or giving it a peaceful painless death through euthanasia. Slaughter is not a humane alternative, ever,” she said.
For Stanley, it’s simple. “Because of the medications that are routinely used I wouldn’t eat horsemeat, not from the United States,” he said.
The proposed ban on horse slaughter comes at a time when several meat processors in the U.S. are petitioning the USDA to slaughter horses again, for the first time since 2007. The meat would only be used for export, but critics said its just one more opportunity for the domestic food supply to become tainted.
Attorney General Gary King said he has grave concerns over the potential health risks associated with consumption of horse meat that might be processed at a proposed horse slaughtering plant in Roswell.
“As attorney general, I have specific authority to enforce New Mexico food safety laws that are applicable to such a facility in our state,” said King.
New Mexico has had laws on its books for more than seven decades protecting our citizens from Adulterated Food. Scientific studies show that horse meat fits the legal definition of an adulterated food product due to the presence of many chemical substances routinely used on horses that are deemed unfit for human consumption, according to King.
Valley Meat Co. is seeking USDA inspections so it can begin slaughtering horses to export the meat to Mexico and overseas markets. However, that approval may prove to be moot. The latest federal budget proposal doesn’t include any money for inspectors that would be required to allow the plant to operate.
“I will vigorously pursue all legal remedies available to me if we discover any violations of New Mexico food safety laws,” King said.
Reposted from The Ethics of Equine Rescue blog.I am happy a horse was taken from the hands of the kill buyer. I hope that horse goes to a responsible home and lives the rest of his or her life on a beautiful farm with loving owners.
Sadly, a big price was paid to save this horse’s life, several other horses died…
You see, all the kind and generous people who sent in small and large donations to save this horse had the best of intentions. But the money you sent in went to a kill buyer. And the donations you made probably equaled 3 times what he paid for that horse. And he smiled, laughed even, at the stupid people who had just lined his pockets with cash. And he turned around and bought several fat, healthy horses – the kind the slaughter plants want and will pay him the best money for – and those horses will get on a packed truck tomorrow, travel for hours without food or water, potentially be injured in route by the other terrified horses, and see their own demise coming as they walk up the chute to the kill box, reeking of blood, urine and fear.
I’m sure, that as you paypaled your donations and wrote your checks, you never intended to assist in the killing of horses. You wanted to be an angel to a horse in need. You never saw the faces of the horses that died because of your donations.
The “rescues” that facilitate this process have blood on their hands.
What then is the answer, the well intentioned angels ask? Stop supporting rescues that are in business with kill buyers. Intervene for the horses before they get bought by the men who make a living off of shipping horses to their grim and inhumane deaths. There are truckloads of horses for free on craigslist. Go to the auction and bid against the kill buyer. Take owner surrenders. There are many great rescues out that that never line a kill buyer’s pockets yet save so many deserving horses.
And truthfully, many if not all of the horses that these “rescues” are listing for the broker can’t ship for one reason or another – health issues, lameness, open wounds, paperwork indicating a drug history. But the kill buyers have now found an outlet for these horses – horses they would not have bought in the past – but they now know that some unscrupulous rescues will market these horses for them, and they both end up with cash in their pockets.
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. I hope you will think long and hard before you send another dime to a “rescue” who markets kill buyers horses. I hope you will see the faces of the horses you are going to help die if you send that money. Think about it…think about the faceless, voiceless, dying horses.Posted by Allure of The Hunt at 4/04/2013
Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” below to watch an interview with Dr. Lester Friedlander on the brutality of horse slaughter, and that of other animals. It describes how horsemeat and other animals are unsafe to eat due to current slaughter practices. Dr. Friedlander was the chief USDA meat inspector. He checked to see if the meat was safe for human consumption and that animals were humanely killed. He was fired because he reported what the meat industry didn’t want him to say.
Watch on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUden2XYaE4
Watch here: Read the rest of this entry »
Animal welfare organizations support move to block spending
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congress could once again ban the use of federal funds to inspect horse slaughter plants in the United States if it follows the lead of the White House—a move that is strongly supported by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), The Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). President Obama’s FY 2014 budget proposal includes a request for Congress to block spending by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to inspect U.S. horse slaughter plants. A similar spending prohibition was put in place in 2005, which effectively shut the door to the grisly horse slaughter industry on U.S. soil. However, it was not renewed in 2011, leading to the potential for horse slaughter plants to reopen in the U.S at the expense of American taxpayers.
There are no horse slaughter facilities operating in the U.S., but the USDA confirms it has received at least six applications and is processing those requests. Humane organizations oppose the slaughter of American horses for human consumption because the practice is inherently cruel to horses. Additionally, horse meat poses a potential human health risk, as horses are not raised for food in the U.S. and are consequently treated with a wide range of drugs that are not approved for use in animals intended for human consumption.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, said: “It’s a fool’s errand to inspect tainted horse meat, and this Administration is wise to reject that path and to embrace the idea, even indirectly, that horses belong in the stable and not on the table.”
Nancy Perry, senior vice president of the ASPCA, said: “It is wonderful to see our government taking steps to ensure American horses are not slaughtered on our own soil for foreign demand, especially in light of the daily news from Europe about the horrors of discovering horse meat in their food supply from co-mingling with beef in tainted food products. Wasting tax dollars on cruel and dangerous practices makes no sense, and we urge Congress to adopt this cut.”
Chris Heyde, deputy director of government and legal affairs for AWI, said: “Now that the administration has taken this important step toward ending horse abuse, reducing the size of the federal government, and saving taxpayer dollars, we urge Congress to swiftly ensure this widely supported language is maintained when sent back to the president for his signature later this year. Given the serious fiscal choices facing our elected officials in Washington, restoring an unpopular foreign driven horse slaughter industry that only serves to drain taxpayers’ money every year, this should be the easiest spending cut they can approve.”
The Safeguard American Food Exports Act, H.R. 1094 / S. 541, introduced this year by U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Reps. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., is a bipartisan measure that would prevent the introduction of horse slaughter operations in the U.S., end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horsemeat.
- American horses are raised to be companions, athletes and work horses. They are often treated with drugs, both legal and illegal, that can endanger the food supply. There is currently no system in the U.S. to track medications and veterinary treatments given to horses throughout their lives to ensure that their meat is safe for human consumption.
- “Kill buyers” gather up horses from random sources and profit by selling horsemeat from healthy horses that bring the best price per pound for their meat. USDA reports show that approximately 92 percent of American horses going to slaughter are healthy and would otherwise be able to go on to lead productive lives.
- The methods used to kill horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as horses often endurerepeated blows to render them unconscious, and sometimes remain conscious during the slaughtering process. When horse slaughter plants previously operated in the U.S., the USDA documented severe injuries to horses incurred during their long-distance transport to slaughter plants in unsafe, overcrowded trailers, including broken bones and eyeballs hanging from their sockets by a thread of skin.
The operators of the Golden Gate Fields racetrack near San Francisco, Calif., are investigating how a retired Thoroughbred racehorse wound up for sale at a livestock auction.
Golden Gate Fields General Manager Joe Morris said that a 2-year-old Thoroughbred named New Macho Man retired from racing after sustaining a leg injury. Golden Gate Fields has a policy banning the sale of its retired racing horse at auction, he said. The ban is intended to prevent horses from being bought by so-called “kill buyers” who sell horses for slaughter in Mexico and Canada.
Following his retirement, the New Macho Man’s trainer gave the horse to a friend with the stipulation that the animal was only to be used for riding, Morris said.
“It’s hard to know what happens (if) somewhere down the line the horse goes to someone else and then to someone else after that,” said Morris.
In New Macho Man’s case, the horse was bought for $280 at a Turlock Livestock Auction Yard auction by Megan Gaynes, operator of the southern California-based Auction Horses Rescue. Gaynes said she routinely scours auction venues to prevent horses from being bought by those who would sell them to slaughter. Gaynes used the horse’s lip tattoo and an online database to identify where the animal originated. The horse was found to have extreme arthritis in connection with a knee injury.
“He’s not going to be able to be ridden at all,” Gaynes said.
Morris said that the track is investigating how New Macho Man wound up at auction. He also said that the racetrack is looking for ways to ensure that its horses are never purchased for the slaughter pipeline.
“We work with trainers to make sure the horses don’t go to slaughter, but maybe we need a data base or some other way to track them,” Morris said. “We’re looking into what we can do now.”
Meanwhile, New Macho Man is now residing at the Auction Horses Rescue and doing well, Gaynes said.
A rant and rave by Jerry Finch of Habitat for Horses
More horsemeat found in beef products, more bute found in horsemeat, more graft and corruption, more “scientists” saying, “Oh, it’s okay. The drugs are harmless.” Ever wonder why people fight against regulations? Perhaps it’s because they can’t get away with the things they do to put more money in their pockets, even if it places other people’s life at risk. Democracy and self-government, to be fully functional, must have a population that governs itself with a high set of standards. When we see our government officials fall into the trap of corruption and self-interest, it’s little wonder that the general population follows the same path.
The food industry in the EU brought all this on themselves. No one was blindfolded. No one, “Just didn’t know.” You don’t operate a multi-million dollar food supply company without knowing what is in the food you produce. The bottom line is that they have all been caught with their pants down and the big cover-up has become the big lie.
It isn’t a joke, America. Corruption in the food industry is killing us. Junk food, diseased meat products, beef filled with so many chemicals that other nations won’t touch it, E. Coli contaminated vegetables, sugar filled and addicting snacks, cancer causing tobacco – all done for the profit of a few who truly believe they can get away with it. And they are right. Remember the tobacco industry testifying in front of a Congressional Committee? “There is no scientific indication that tobacco is linked to lung cancer.”
Killing horses for fun and profit against the will of the majority of the US population is a primary sign that this country has a serious problem. The BLM is completely out of control and doesn’t even fake answering questions posed by a few honest Senators and Representatives. And don’t get me started on the general meat industry – so corrupt and violent that they don’t want anyone to even look at them, thus they pass ag-gag bills.
Through this website, I try to bring you the news that is important to all those who care about their horses, to support those who fight our battles in Congress and to expose those who want to destroy what we love. When the horsemeat stories broke in January, the news popped fast, then came the NM and OK slaughterhouse proposals and all the shining examples of the worst of legislatures. Hidden in all that were a few shining stories, but the horror and stupidity instantly over-shadowed them.
Horsemeat eating small town slob that became a spokeswoman for the slaughter industry, brainless macho man shooting a horse to prove a point, Tom Davis walking away because law enforcement “forgot to file charges,” Governor signs slaughter bill… It gets to the point sometimes where I look at these stories in utter disbelief and all I can do is say, “Really? Seriously?”
That the power structure in the supposed “free” world gets away with this and expects the general population to forget about it is unbelievable, yet they continue, and we do let it go and move on. Sandy Hook is old news, the legislators in Oklahoma will be reelected, the passage of horsemeat through the Port of Houston, which is against the Texas law, will be forgotten, a few people will be thrown in jail, but the main players will keep on doing what they always did.
Unless… dare I ask…did YOU call in support of the SAFE Act? Did you bother to fill out the online form just to let Washington know your thoughts? If you agree with anything I’ve said, but you didn’t bother to pick up the phone or go to a website to respond and show your support, then we both know what the problem really is. Pretending to be angry and upset doesn’t do anyone any good unless you’re willing to voice your opinion to those who have the ability to do something about it. You can make comments all day long on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean anything. What means something is for you to pick up the phone, call Washington DC, and let them know exactly how you feel. Or at least fill out an online form. Ten minutes, max. You spent that long reading this article.Harmful painkillers found in food products with horse DNA
Portugal’s leading consumer rights association has found traces of anti-inflammatory drugs in the horsemeat found in processed food products that were on sale in Portugal, indicating a potential risk to public health, the group said in a statement on Thursday.
Horsemeat: The European Web EU countries have issued more than 50 alerts related to meat contaminationAsda corned beef recalled over bute
Asda is recalling all corned beef from its budget range after traces of veterinary drug phenylbutazone were found in some batches.Chief medical officer: ‘Bute’ poses ‘very low’ risk
Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies has previously said that ‘bute’ poses only a very low risk to humans. She said:
Have you had enough yet, America? You are the answer. Stand up. Make the call.
By JANET PEARSON Associate Editor TulsaWorld.com
Oklahoma lawmakers and Gov. Mary Fallin might have thought that quick passage of the horse slaughter bill would bring the controversy to an end. Instead, they probably just guaranteed that the controversy will continue to drag on, perhaps for years.
And the awful irony is we might have had to endure this dreadful experience, and the damage it’s done to our already lousy reputation, for naught – because there’s a good chance Oklahoma will never end up with a horse slaughterhouse. Let’s hope so, anyway.
But perhaps there might be at least one good outcome from this awful chapter in our legislative history: If Tulsa World readers follow through with their vows, lots of those lawmakers who supported horse slaughter and blithely ignored the wishes of voters might get booted out of office. (To learn how lawmakers voted go to www.tulsaworld.com/horsevote or www.tulsaworld.com/senatehorse.)
Several developments in recent years could mean there won’t be a slaughterhouse anywhere in the U.S. any time soon: pending federal legislation; stricter requirements for exported horse meat; persistent documentation issues, and a growing meat-fraud scandal.
And, there’s a growing movement across the country, articulated by the nation’s top agricultural official, to find a solution other than slaughter for managing the country’s horse population.
Just a few weeks ago, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called for developing a “third way” to deal with unwanted or unneeded horses.
Vilsack called on Congress to “come up with a better solution for handling unwanted horses than slaughtering the animals for meat for human consumption.”
Vilsack’s agency is reviewing five applications for slaughterhouses, including reportedly one from Oklahoma, although it is unclear if the Oklahoma application is still being pursued.
The secretary wasn’t specific about what he meant by a third option, but suggested as examples that these horses could be used in programs to help returning war veterans or prison inmates.
Apparently a number of federal lawmakers agree with his stance. Pending federal legislation would ban the slaughter of American horses for human consumption and prohibit transporting them across the U.S. border to Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses.
The measure, called the Safeguard American Food Exports Act, is in part a response to reports that horse meat has been found in food products in Europe and wrongly identified as beef.
The meat-fraud scandal began in early February when the British food protection agency found horse meat in a frozen lasagna product labeled as 100 percent beef, according to a Feb. 26 Washington Post report.
As more investigation ensued, Europeans learned the meat-switching involved “a multinational network of traders, factory owners and marketers.”
The investigation has found that meat fraud could be commonplace and that horse meat-laden products could have been sold across the European continent. “There is no telling how long the cheating has been going on or how much is undiscovered,” concluded the Post.
The discoveries have led to the removal of numerous frozen foods from “hundreds of multinational-chain supermarkets in at least 16 countries,” and “a dozen national investigations have been launched.” There’s now even talk of mandatory DNA testing for such products, among other steps.
Think something like this can’t happen here in Oklahoma? Think again: According to a recent report, it already has. The reason Oklahoma leaders adopted a ban on horse slaughter for human consumption in Oklahoma, according to the report, was because it was found in what was supposed to be beef hamburgers in a couple of fast-food restaurants back in the early 1960s. Read the rest of this entry »
The horse-meat-in-ground-beef scandal that broke in Europe at the beginning of the year has spawned numerous investigations there as well as a booming business for food-testing companies. But it has thus far not crossed the pond to the United States.
Or has it?
Americans are famous, even notorious, for thinking that the oceans and our inflated sense of entitlement and superiority, protect us from many of the major ills that plague the rest of the world. We don’t eat horses, we say; we don’t slaughter horses, we say. Therefore, we say, there’s no danger that horsemeat has been mixed into some of our hamburger meat.
It’s a comfortable way to look at things, if not an entirely realistic one. And this American, for one, had his comfort level shaken recently on reading a headline that asked, “Is the mob involved in horse meat scandal.”
Duh. Of course “the mob,” however one defines it, on whatever continent one chooses, is involved in the horse meat scandal. If there is money to be made by cheating, lying or stealing from others, “the mob,” in all its forms will be involved. And this crime has the advantage of being non-violent. All it takes is some people willing to go along, for a price or a threat, with the scheme. Plus, we’re talking about doctoring ground beef, for Pete’s sake. Everyone eats it and no one suspects it.
And it’s not just the possible mob connection that has raised more suspicions that the scandal is going to get a lot bigger. Last week, in London, where the horse meat scandal is in full bloom, samples of curries and kebabs from six food outlets were tested by scientists hired by the BBC. The scientists found one burger contained no beef, save for blood and heart. One curry sample did contain meat but, a BBC spokesperson said, “that meat was not lamb, not pork, nor was it chicken or beef. Not horse. and not goat either.” The London Daily Mail wondered if it could be dog meat, noting that dog meat had been found in samples of pet food in Spain.
The horse meat scandal has spread from a meat-cutting plant in Wales to the entire British Isles, as horse meat from Poland has turned up in beef at Burger King and Tesco, as well as in major supermarkets and brand name processed foods, including Birds Eye. Brits have no delusions anymore about their food being what it says on the label. Nor do Swedes, since horse meat was found in the furniture giant’s Swedish meatballs.
There’s more. And far from London. In South Africa, a team of university scientists, curious because of the European scandal, found traces of human tissue in beef samples meant for human consumption in nine provinces across the nation. According to research.com, the scientists said there was “no threat” in eating the samples, which one scientist speculated could have been from a worker cutting himself or picking his nose at a meat-processing plant. Yumm. (Or, connecting some other dots, what a convenient way to get rid of a troublemaker.) [Related Story]
The South African scientists also reported that nearly half of the “game” samples they tested were, in fact, beef, and that ostrich
sausages, a local treat, were found to contain pork and even kangaroo meat. The scientists were not concerned about the obvious intentional mislabeling.
Meanwhile, back in the good old USA, where we don’t slaughter horses, the governor of Oklahoma just signed a bill authorizing the slaughtering of horses. Similar efforts are being made in New Mexico, Washington and elsewhere. Oklahomans by a wide margin opposed the bill, but legislators paid them no mind. They justified the bill by noting that the horses slaughtered could not be sold for human consumption in the United States.
Really? There are no inspectors or food-processing executives willing to take bribes? Horses from this country have been sold to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. Shipments from those countries cannot legally be sold to American firms, but they do pass through a port in Texas on the way elsewhere. Seems I’ve heard a rumor about “the mob” having some kind of influence on the docks.
Still not worried? What’s wrong with a little horse meat in my burger? you ask. Obviously the moral argument about Americans not eating animals who are pets, companions or sporting teammates doesn’t sway you. How about the possibility that the horse meat may be tainted with medications widely used on horses in the United States, including phenylbutazone (bute), a pain reliever which is a known carcinogen for humans. [Related Story]
These drugs cannot be administered to horses raised for food in the U.S. (which is none), but the horse slaughter lobbyists are angling to buy and slaughter the large supply of wild mustangs that have been rounded up as well as former race horses, rodeo horses and personal steeds without a home. Those horses have all likely been medicated and there is not likely to be anyone checking each horse for drugs at a slaughterhouse, where speed is a priority.
I’ll toss in the fact that it’s tough enough to know what’s in genuine ground beef, since it comes from many sources and I will resist the temptation to mention that some Americans suspect that, like in Spain, shelter dogs — and cats — may be winding up in pet food in this country. One step removed.
It is a fetid stew and very profitable for a select few. Perhaps Americans will someday get around to caring about their food labels being reliable and factual. Or maybe start shopping with an eye to wanting to know what they’re eating. But it sure would also be reassuring if someone in a position of authority started testing this system and putting checks in place to serve as a backup to that big ocean in which we place so much trust.
Last week a video appeared on YouTube showing a man cursing animal rights activists, then leading a friendly, fit-looking horse out of a pen, and shooting it dead with a single pistol shot between its eyes. (The horse was so tame it quietly stepped toward the pistol, and dipped its head to receive a scratch, in the moment before the shot.)
Tim Sappington is employed by a meatpacking company that has proposed to start slaughtering horses in New Mexico, bringing the practice back to American soil. The video inflamed opponents to the slaughterhouse. Rick De Los Santos, owner of Valley Meat Company, said he received so many threatening phone calls that he hired a security company to protect himself and his business.
In New Mexico, no law prevents a man from killing his own horse if the act is carried out humanely. Local officials declared that Sappington did kill humanely. However it’s hard to imagine that anyone who saw the video, felt anything but anger at the man and sorrow for the horse. In 21st-century America, at least, killing a horse for meat, or to prove it can be done “humanely,” breaks a compact that has grown stronger even as the horse has disappeared from most of our lives.
Check the news on any given day there’s a good chance you’ll see something about a horse. Last summer it was Ann Romney’s dressage champion Rafalca, which Steven Colbert playfully mocked for its performance in Olympic “horse prancing.” After Rafalca came a runaway carriage horse in Manhattan. More recently a horsemeat scandal swallowed-up the Swedish meatball business at all the in-store eateries operated by IKEA.
Beyond the news, horses show up regularly in our art. After a solid Broadway run and a Tony award for best play, War Horse is selling-out a national tour. The portrait show dubbed ”most beautiful” of the season by The New York Times is Charlotte Dumas’s exhibit of photos Army horses at Arlington National Cemetery. In March artist Nick Cave thrilled commuters with performances of dancers on horse costumes at Grand Central Station.
For millennia, people have anthropomorphized the horse and it’s now almost impossible for us to avoid reading some feeling into a snort, a twitch, or the blink of an eye. Current research supports at least some of our interpretations. From Iain Douglas-Hamilton’s study of grieving elephants toThe Emotional Lives of Animals by Marc Bekoff, the argument for the idea that other species experience deep feelings gets stronger every day. Those of us who have experienced the varied “personalities” of animals know this research will eventually lead to a general agreement that many species have feelings similar to ours. From this realization it is a short step to profound questions about our duty to the animals we have domesticated.
The human response to the horse suggests that as he was evolving in relationship to us, we were adapting to him. Survival of the fittest might well have included survival of those humans who could work with the horse. Human beings who excelled at the care and training of horses enjoyed obvious advantages and were more likely to thrive and, consequently, love the horse.
If we have evolved to bond with the horse on an emotional level, then our feelings explain this animal’s continuing presence on our streets, in the pages of the newspapers, and in our art. This relationship also explains why one of the few recent bipartisan initiatives in Congress is a proposed ban on both horse slaughter and the export of American horses to countries where they may be killed for meat. In the House, the bill was sponsored by Republican Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania and Democrat Jan Schakowsky. In the Senate it was proposed by Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Mary Landrieu, who noted ”there’s no humane way to slaughter a horse.”
Considering their innate wariness and sharp senses, there may not be a humane way to slaughter horses, which is why the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The Animal Welfare Institute and the American Humane Society support the proposed bans. Polls show a consistent majority of Americans also oppose horse slaughter. Local community opposition led to the closing of the last three horse slaughterhouses in the country in 2007. However in recent months Valley Meat’s effort to resume the practice in the United States has brought the prospect of horse slaughter into the public area.
Valley Meat’s owners and workers like Tim Sappington are backed by those horse owners who views meat sales an economic boon. Also, a number of breeders, trainers, and riders consider old, sick, injured, and unwanted horses and say that a slaughterhouse operated humanely is a good, practical option. For support they turn to the famous animal science professor Temple Grandin who says “using animals for food or agriculture or pets is acceptable,” and she has developed rules for humane horse slaughterhouses. This is the type of facility — quiet, efficient, painless — the meat industry presents as it seeks to resume horse meat production.
The “pro” side of the slaughter argument also raises the value of horse protein and other products of rendering that could benefit humanity. This point of view is often presented as a firmer, but kinder perspective and a practical alternative that reduces the abuse and neglect of unwanted animals.
Unwanted horses are sometimes abused and neglected and left to suffer and starve. At the height of the current economic crisis, reports of abandoned horses sent a wave of worry through the ranks of animal welfare advocates. However, this problem has abated and experience doesn’t support the notion that slaughter prevents neglect. California saw no rise in neglect cases after it banned slaughter in 1998. This pattern was repeated when slaughter was stopped Illinois. Similarly, the facts do not support the notion that slaughter is mainly a way to dispose of horses that are no longer fit. When Americans still killed horses for meat, 92 percent of the animals were judged to be in good condition. Indeed, anyone who ever attended an auction where horses are sold for meat would have seen that the animals on offer were generally healthy, strong, and spirited. Some were so friendly they pestered auctioneers for affection.
The sight of a healthy, pretty horse seeming to flirt with an auctioneer who is selling him for meat captures the problem of horse slaughter in a single frame. Temple Grandin, who has applied herself to reforming the slaughter of cattle with some success, seems to straddle the line on the issue of using American horses as meat as she says, “It’s a less bad option to slaughter them here,” than in unregulated facilities abroad.
But is the “less bad” option the right one? Does it resolve the question: What do we owe the horse? In 2011, at a conference called The Summit of the Horse, Grandin suggested alternatives that amount to reduced breeding and a more concerted effort to help owners who can no longer meet their obligations to a hungry creature that can live for thirty years. Speaking of animals in general, Grandin has said, “Whether it is cattle or dogs we have got to give them a good life.” When it comes to horses, we’re struggling to decide what the end of a good life should be. Tim Sappington’s homemade video didn’t answer the question.Read the full article and COMMENT here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-dantonio/what-do-we-owe-the-horse-_b_3009324.html
Vickery Eckhoff Covering the underground horse meat trade since 2011.
Five states looking to snag millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to inspect horse meat plants may want to rethink their plans in light of a precipitous drop in demand.
The drop is a reflection of the number of horses going from the U.S. to Mexico for slaughter. That number plummeted 62% in the first quarter of 2013 following a steady two-year increase, USDA figures show.
U.S. horses were slaughtered in greater numbers in Canada and Mexico from 2007 onward, with the meat exported to the European Union (EU) and Russia.
But all that changed in late January of this year, when the public learned of horse meat hidden inside Burger King Whoppers, IKEA meatballs, Buitoni frozen lasagna and other prepared foods across Europe and in the rest of the world. The adulteration of beef with horse meat had gone undetected for years, authorities say.
“We have been watching the numbers of U.S. horses slaughtered closely, because we knew they would tell us how much of the meat from our horses was being sold as beef,” states John Holland, President of the Equine Welfare Alliance.
How much? A great deal of it, Holland says.
The discovery of horse meat sold as beef explains why more U.S horses were being exported for slaughter despite a decade-long slump in direct consumption of horse meat in the EU. More than 160,000 U.S. horses were slaughtered for their meat in 2012.
The sales of processed beef products have dropped in EU countries in the wake of the comingling scandal, where consumers intentionally buying horse meat were already cutting back.
“Any drop in horse meat sales is most likely attributable to it no longer being sold as beef,” Holland concludes.Read the full story and COMMENT here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vickery-eckhoff/market-for-us-horse-meat-_b_3021192.html
Source: The Toas News
I know that horse lovers abound in Taos and the surrounding areas but I wonder how many people realize how close our state is to becoming the first state in the nation to reopen horse slaughter plants. Is that the notorious reputation we want for our Land of Enchantment? Around the country greedy kill buyers and horse slaughter house operators are licking their chops in anticipation of killing off our country’s horses.
Slaughter advocates say that horse slaughter is the humane answer to deal with unwanted horses. There is nothing humane about horse slaughter.
Horse Slaughter is the opposite of euthanasia. There is no way a horse can be humanely slaughtered in an industrialized setting. We should have learned that lesson by now.
In 2006 the USDA stopped inspecting horse slaughter houses for a good reason, horse slaughter is inhumane. As late as 2011 when the defunding of horse slaughter inspections by the USDA expired, the Government Accounting Office, June 2011 report recommended a permanent ban on slaughter.
The captive bolt method of slaughter commonly used for cattle slaughter is not effective or humane when it comes to horses. Horses, flight animals by nature struggle to escape. Their heads cannot be restrained.
The horse skull is much thicker than other livestock, and their brain is located further back in the skull. As a result it takes several painful blows to the head before the horse is stunned enough to be suspended. Forty percent of the time a horse is alive and aware when the butchering process begins. Is this what you would call a humane end of life for your horse?
Horse overpopulation is another piece of propaganda being circulated by pro-slaughter advocates. Horse slaughter merely enables and rewards the continued irresponsible breeding by the horse manufacturing industries of quarter horses and thoroughbreds.
In New Mexico, we are the recipient of unwanted horses from all over the country as a result of our proximity to horse slaughter in Mexico. In 2011, according to a European Union report, over 19,000 horses were dumped at the border to Mexico — rejects from slaughter. These horses were dumped by unscrupulous kill buyers on state, federal, tribal and even private land.
As citizens, taxpayers, horse lovers, are we going to stand by and allow the hideously cruel industry of horse slaughter to dig it’s nasty claws into our country’s horses once again, an industry that will make a few people rich, an industry that is subsidized by taxpayer dollars to the tune of $5 million annually, an industry that has the reputation of environmental pollution that far outweighs the economic benefit.
We can still stop this barbaric industry before it ever gets started in our state.
Several groups including New Mexico Against Horse Slaughter and Wild Horse Observers Association continue to call on Gov. Susana Martinez to write an executive order to ban horse slaughter in New Mexico.
Martinez has repeatedly claimed that she has no authority, that it is up to the USDA. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, however, has already pleaded with Congress to place a ban on horse slaughter.
Take action now and call Governor Martinez and tell her that we do not want horse slaughter in our state at (505) 476-2200. You can also add your name to a petition at causes.com/actions/1737967-executive-order-to-ban-nm-horse-slaughter?recruiter_id=95461414&utm_campaign=sharebar&utm_medium=wall&utm_source=fb
At the Federal level, support the Safeguard American Food Exports Act which will implement a national ban on both the slaughter of horses and the transport of horses to slaughter. You can follow this link to a website where you can send a letter to your Senators and Congressmen asking them to support this legislation secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=5933&s_src=sh_facebook_tyA5933#.UUCr91v_xTs.facebook
At the present time, none of the New Mexico Senators or Representatives have shown their support for this legislation. Please call Sen. Tom Udall, Sen. Martin Heinrich and Rep. Ben Ray Luján.
Take action now for your voice to be heard. You can be assured that well-funded special interest groups are in Washington lobbying on behalf of slaughtering our country’s horses. Demand that elected officials listen to the voices of their constituents to ban horse slaughter now in New Mexico and the United States.
Paula Todd King is a writer and horse advocate who lives in Ranchos de Taos with her husband Ron.Reposted from http://www.taosnews.com/opinion/my_turn/article_1bc51a08-9e2a-11e2-9171-001a4bcf887a.html
NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced in a new poll just conducted by Lake Research Partners that 70 percent of New Mexico voters are opposed to the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption and do not want a horse slaughter plant in their community. The statewide survey reveals that New Mexicans overwhelmingly oppose horse slaughter regardless of their political affiliation, gender, ethnicity, geographic location or whether they live in an urban or rural area. Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its plan to process an application for inspecting horse slaughter at a Roswell, N.M. facility. If the application is approved, Valley Meat Company LLC will be the first facility in the U.S. to slaughter horses for human consumption since 2007, when the few remaining plants closed and Congress chose to suspend funding for any further horse meat inspections.
“There is broad consensus in New Mexico, as there is throughout the nation, that our horses deserve more than to be shuttled off to a gruesome death and served abroad as a toxic delicacy,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “With nearly three quarters of all registered voters in the state in opposition to the slaughtering of American horses, opening a horse slaughterhouse in New Mexico clearly flies in the face of public opinion, and using our precious tax dollars to enable horse slaughter on U.S. soil is even more tone deaf. Enacting a ban on horse slaughter has never been more urgent.”
According to the new research, 7 in 10 New Mexico registered voters are opposed to allowing American horses to be slaughtered for human consumption, with 55 percent in strong opposition to the practice. In addition, 70 percent of New Mexico voters do not want a horse slaughter plant in their community, with just 20 percent of voters supporting such a facility. Furthermore, opposition to a horse slaughtering facility extends across race, age, partisan, and geographic divides with 76 percent of Hispanic voters and 66 percent of Anglos disapproving of such a facility.
“In every way, shape and form, New Mexicans continue to reject the idea of a horse slaughter plant in our state,” said Lisa Jennings, executive director of Animal Protection of New Mexico. “New Mexico benefits from living and thriving horses, not dead ones. We’re determined to continue developing a robust equine safety net, not condemn horses to a slaughter pipeline that will guarantee the misery continues.”
The surprising move toward a resumption of domestic horse slaughter comes in the wake of the scandal unfolding in the European Union, where consumers have been alarmed by the discovery of horse meat mislabeled as beef in prepared food products ranging from lasagna to meatballs. Horses are routinely given medications and other substances that are toxic to humans and are expressly forbidden by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in animals intended for human consumption. Last month, U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Reps. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act to prevent the introduction of horse slaughter operations in the U.S., end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat.
Horse slaughter is inherently cruel and often erroneously compared to humane euthanasia. The methods used to slaughter horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as horses are difficult to stun and often remain conscious during their butchering and dismemberment. Whether slaughter occurs in the U.S. or abroad, these equines suffer incredible abuse even before they arrive at the slaughterhouse, often transported for more than 24 hours at a time without food, water or rest, in dangerously overcrowded trailers where the animals are often seriously injured or even killed in transit. The majority of horses killed for human consumption are young, healthy animals who could go on to lead productive lives with loving owners. Last year, more than 160,000 American horses were sent to a cruel death by a grisly foreign industry that produces unsafe food for consumers.
For more information on the ASPCA’s poll, please contact Rebecca Goldrick at Rebecca.Goldrick@aspca.org or 646-291-4582. To learn more about the ASPCA’s efforts to ban horse slaughter or support the SAFE Act, please visit www.aspca.org.
By JoNel Aleccia, Senior Writer, NBC News
In the wake of Europe’s horse meat scandal, the U.S. is increasing so-called “species testing” on imported meats to screen for any signs of fraudulent products, agriculture officials said.
Inspectors have been ordered to boosts species tests of meat products imported from Iceland, Ireland, Poland, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, according to a new U.S. Department of Agriculture directive issued this week.
In addition, inspectors will increase tests of all imported raw ground beef or veal, including products that already are being tested for certain Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria that can cause serious illness.
“We are confident that the inspection system at ports of entry ensures the safety of products that come into our country every day,” said Catherine Cochran, a spokeswoman for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. “However, in response to recent events and consumer concerns, we are increasing species testing to enhance current safeguards and prevent fraudulently labeled products from entering the country.”
The U.S. action follows the scandal that erupted earlier this year after testing in Ireland revealed that some beef products contained traces of horse meat. More than a dozen European countries and several prominent international brands have been caught up in the controversy.
None of the European countries implicated in the scandal imports beef to the U.S., but USDA officials said the increased scrutiny recognizes that those countries are part of the global food supply chain.
The new directive, signed by Rachel Edelstein, an FSIS acting assistant administrator, doesn’t include a specific schedule for species testing. Previously, USDA officials acknowledged that species testing for meat imported into the U.S. has been performed typically only when there’s a reason to question a shipment.
Concerns about horse meat hidden in beef have been two-fold. First, meats taken from store shelves in Britain and Germany had traces of a powerful equine painkiller, phenylbutazone, or “bute,” which can cause serious problems in humans.
The larger issue, however, has been one of trust. While diners in some European countries routinely eat horse meat, the idea makes most U.S. consumers shudder.
By Susan SalkTexas oilman and racehorse owner John R. Murrell is busier than a one-armed paperhanger these days. But it isn’t spreadsheets keeping him up to all hours, making calls, and writing impassioned letters.
Those in the horse world know Murrell as an increasingly active voice for horse welfare. He is often a lifeline to horse-rescue nonprofits who need cash to buy horses from auctions that sell to meat buyers, and he has recently been making news with a letter-writing campaign to try to stop the return of horse-slaughter plants to American soil.
Murrell recently wrote to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, to argue three key points against a “Yes” vote for slaughter. His points: slaughter is inhumane; horsemeat is unsafe for human consumption; and, slaughterhouses themselves carry a stench that invades a community, emits blood that leeches into neighborhood septic systems, and dissuades businesses from developing nearby. (Please read John Murrell’s letter in the Thoroughbred Daily News).
Although the governor voted in favor of opening a slaughterhouse anyway, Murrell is not giving up hope. The Dallas horseman has deep roots and an even deeper love for horses. His Thoroughbred John’s Treasure placed third in the 1986 Belmont Stakes, beating Ferdinand, and this battle against slaughter is something he feels he owes to all the hardworking horses out there.
In this week’s Clubhouse Q&A, Murrell discusses the shifting landscape of the horse-slaughter issue in America.
Q: John, you’re a successful horseman and businessman. What motivates you to continue the fight against slaughter and slaughter in the USA?
Cruelty, abuse, and stupid, avaricious people.
Q: Why are plans to return horse-slaughter plants to American soil being considered?
Anything like this always comes back to money. In addition, when the Obama Administration put the language back in re-funding US inspectors at horse-slaughter plants those who were involved in that industry thought that was their opportunity to open slaughterhouses on American soil again.
The horse-slaughter plants are typically foreign owned. And while the pro-slaughter people will argue that they create jobs, they are, in fact, very low-paying jobs, and there are not many of them. When slaughter plants were operating in the US, there were only about 178 people working in any one plant.
Q: You mentioned in a letter to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin that slaughterhouses have a negative environmental impact on the community. Please explain this.
We had a slaughterhouse in Kaufman Texas, which was called Dallas Crown, and was a Belgium-owned company.
The environmental impact and business impact it had on the community been devastating. Because horses bleed a lot when they’re slaughtered, blood was leeching into the plumbing systems of neighboring homes, and backing up into their bathtubs and toilets.
And from an economic standpoint, the town couldn’t attract any businesses to locate near the slaughterhouse. Read the rest of this entry »
Is it safe to eat horse meat? HRN’s Sari Kamin is here to set the record straight with Vickery Eckhoff, journalist and horse meat expert. Tune into this episode to learn more about the recent horse meat controversy, and why transparency is at the core of this issue. Learn more about slaughter practices, and how methods for beef slaughter cannot be applied to horses. Vickery brings some dangerous horse drugs into the studio to explain their uses, and how they can endanger human health through the consumption of horse meat. If you were thinking about trying a horse steak, you should listen to this segment first; get the scoop from Sari and Vickery in this HRN Community Session! Thanks to our sponsor, Heritage Foods USA.
“Most people think that horses are raised organically without any drugs… there are a lot of misconceptions about the food safety aspect of horse meat.” [21:30]
In November 2011, the U.S. Congress quietly lifted a ban on funding horse meat inspections, again opening the gateway for horse slaughterhouses to return to America. Shortly thereafter, a report in the Twin Falls Times News said that Idaho might be considered an ideal spot for a slaughterhouse “because it is agricultural-based and contains high amounts of unwanted horses.”
And while Idaho has yet to see a slaughterhouse open since then, the governor of Oklahoma on Friday signed into law a provision to allow facilities to process and export horse meat, despite bitter opposition by animal-rights activists.
But advocates for the slaughterhouses, including Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, noted that more than 166,000 horses were sent to Canada and Mexico in 2012 to be slaughtered.
But Fallin quickly added that her state’s new law strictly prohibited the selling of horse meat for human consumption in the U.S.
Meanwhile, Huffington Post reports that similar horse slaughtering efforts are under way in Nevada and New Mexico. Oklahoma officials have already received an application for a horse slaughter inspection permit from a meat company in Washington, Okla., about 40 miles south of Oklahoma City.Read and comment on this article here: http://www.boiseweekly.com/CityDesk/archives/2013/03/30/oklahoma-opens-corral-to-horse-slaughtering
Source: KOCO.com ~ Oklahoma City“Yet another politician succumbs to misinformation and well funded lobbyists”
OKLAHOMA CITY —A controversial horse slaughter bill was signed by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin.
Fallin released the following statement:
“In Oklahoma — as in other states — abuse is tragically common among horses that are reaching the end of their natural lives. Many horses are abandoned or left to starve to death. Others are shipped out of the country, many to Mexico, where they are processed in potentially inhumane conditions that are not regulated by the U.S. government.
“Unfortunately, the 2006 federal ban on horse processing plants has made this situation worse. After the implementation of that ban, the Government Accountability Office reported a 60 percent increase in abused, neglected and starved horses. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has also noted that over 166,000 horses were sent to Canada and Mexico for processing just in 2012. These animals traveled long distances, in potentially inhumane circumstances, only to meet their end in foreign processing plants that do not face the same level of regulation or scrutiny that American plants would.
“Those of us who care about the well being of horses – and we all should – cannot be satisfied with a status quo that encourages abuse and neglect, or that rewards the potentially inhumane slaughter of animals in foreign countries.
“For that reason, I have today signed HB 1999, which would allow the humane, regulated processing of horses. This bill strictly prohibits selling horse meat for human consumption in Oklahoma.
“My thanks go out to the many horse owners, farmers and ranchers, animal lovers and concerned citizens who have contacted me regarding this issue. I appreciate the willingness of so many individuals and groups to get involved and engage their elected officials. My office diligently worked to ensure input from all sides of the issue was carefully considered during the consideration of this bill. I appreciate and support the efforts of those who have expressed a desire to donate land, money and resources to provide for abandoned horses. I believe the direction pursued by theOklahoma Legislature, in a bill supported by both Democrats and Republicans and passed by large margins, is both practical and humane.”
“There are currently no processing facilities in the state. Should there ever be a processing facility planned, my administration will work with the Department of Agriculture to ensure it is run appropriately, follows all state and local laws, and is not a burden or hazard to the community. It’s important to note cities, counties and municipalities still have the ability to express their opposition to processing facilities by blocking their construction and operation at the local level.”
HB 1999 goes into effect on November 1. It was sponsored by Rep. Skye McNeil in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Sen. Eddie Fields in the Senate. The bill passed 82-14 in the House and 32-14 in the Senate.Click (HERE) to Comment at KOCO Channel 5
Six schools received the same batch of mince, and it is not yet known whether it was served to pupils.
The city council confirmed the discovery after testing meat taken last month from the shared kitchen of Pirniehall and St David’s primary schools.
The contaminated product was also supplied to Oxgangs and Craigroyston primaries and Braidburn and Forthview secondaries.
A letter has been sent to parents of pupils at each of the schools, advising them of the test results and reassuring them that there was “no risk to health from consuming horse meat”.
Cllr Cathy Fullerton, vice convener of education, said: “It’s very important to emphasise that there is no risk whatsoever to people’s health from consuming horse meat, but obviously we all want to be certain that we know exactly what we are eating.
“This is why the council chose to seek extra assurance that our external suppliers were not providing any products containing horsemeat by carrying out our own testing.
“Parents can be reassured that we have taken absolutely the correct course of action in immediately making sure there is none of this frozen mince remaining in school kitchens.”
Food at the schools is procured by a public-private partnership (PPP) contractor, which sourced the mince form the food wholesaler 3663. It recalled all batches of the product on March 8.
One parent of a child at the Pirniehall and St David’s campus said schools must know where their meat was coming from.
Aga Perkins, 30, who is self employed, added: “I think it’s disgusting and I’m certainly going to be speaking to someone about this.
“I know this is a nationwide problem but schools must know where the food is coming from, they can’t just blame suppliers.”
Leila Fawcus, 35, a council worker, added: “This makes me so glad my girls have always had a packed lunch.
“It’s disappointing because the schools always said they hadn’t been affected. I don’t think people will lose trust in the council though, as it’s the suppliers.”
Les Vernon, 30, said the schools had been “straight about it”, adding: “It’s probably been going on for years and it falls back to the government.”
Claire Baker, Labour’s rural affairs spokesman, said the SNP held a “hastily convened” summit on school meals recently but there had been no action since.
She added: “The Scottish Government must take action to ensure school meals are balanced in a fairer way than the current weighting that sees price valued three times more than quality.
“Rather than have an open and honest debate over this scandal, the Cabinet Secretary (Richard Lochhead) is presiding over a growing food crisis that he is failing to control.”
Alison Johnstone, the Green MSP, said the revelation would worry parents and proved the need for greater investment and increased traceability in publicly-procured meals.
“The council’s website claims that it uses local suppliers for meat, so it is extremely important we are told what has gone wrong,” she added.
“I have real concerns about the way our schools have moved away from real meals cooked in proper kitchens to ready meals heated up in microwaves.
“It’s also hard to have confidence when the many of our schools are supplied by massive companies who describe themselves as strategic outsourcing providers rather than caterers, and whose main motive is profit.”
The council has been carrying out tests on meat products supplied to schools, residential homes and other local authority establishments since February 14 under the direction of the Food Standards Agency as part of its UK-wide survey.
A spokesman said all but one of the 85 samples tested so far were negative. Last month, traces of horse DNA were found in a frozen burger in a school kitchen in North Lanarkshire.
Federal legislation intended to fund U.S. government agencies will continue provide revenue for USDA inspections at horse processing plants located in the United States through September 2013. The current federal continuing funding resolution that also included USDA expired on March 27.
Every year since 2006, lawmakers had denied funding for USDA meat inspections at horse processing plants in the United States. The lack of funding eliminated food safety certifications necessary for U.S.-produced horsemeat products to be exported Europe and other offshore markets. As a result, the defunding figured significantly in operators’ decisions to close the last U.S.-based horse processing plant in 2007. Thereafter, U.S. horses were exported to processing facilities in Mexico and Canada. In November 2011, Congress passed an appropriations bill that did not include language specifically forbidding the USDA from using federal dollars to fund horse slaughter plant inspections. Since then, the owners of the Valley Meat Co., LLC, in New Mexico have applied for a USDA inspection permit, which remains pending. In addition, according to published reports, operators of prospective plants in several other states have also applied for inspection permits. Currently no horse slaughter plants are currently operating in the United States. Read the rest of this entry »
The measure creates a horse shelter rescue fund to be administered by the New Mexico Livestock Board.
New Mexico has 11 state-licensed shelters for equines, at least nine of which are active in rescue operations, said Lisa Jennings, executive director of Animal Protection of New Mexico.
Her organization lobbied for the bill, which was carried by Sen. George Munoz, D-Gallup.
Munoz says the primary financial feature of his legislation is an optional designation for personal income tax contributions for the rescue fund.
The new law also allows for gifts, grants and appropriations that would help shelters care for horses.
Jennings said approximately 350 horses live in New Mexico shelters. Many were abandoned. Others were wild animals that became sick or could not care for themselves.
Munoz said the shelter staffs stepped in, saving the horses from painful deaths.
Under his bill, the livestock board will establish rules for distribution of money from the rescue fund. Horse populations and the needs of each shelter are to guide the board in how it allocates money.
Milan Simonich, Santa Fe bureau chief of Texas-New Mexico Newspapers, can be reached at 505-820-6898. His blog is at nmcapitolreport.com
To comment – CLICK HERE
(Note – I can only dream that Texas and every other state would commit to assisting equine rescues instead of going against the will of the citizens and signing bills to slaughter horses. This is a brave and bold action taken by Gov. Martinez and should be applauded by everyone. – Jerry, Habitat for Horses)